Cougars edge Wildfire for back-to-back District 13 titlesBack and forth they went, neither refusing to back down an inch or give up, even when it appeared the momentum had turned.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Back and forth they went, neither refusing to back down an inch or give up, even when it appeared the momentum had turned.
In a game that featured 12 lead changes, six ties and big play after big play, top-seeded Heart River found ways to outlast second-seeded Mott-Regent in a District 13 championship game that wasn’t decided until the final minute.
The Cougars hit their free throws to make it a two-possession game for much of the final 30 seconds and held on for a 59-57 victory to clinch their second consecutive, and possibly final, district title.
“That’s how district championships should be played,” Heart River head coach Greg Pruitt said.
The North Dakota High School Activities Association has deemed Region 7 the test region for potential super regional tournaments that would antiquate district tournaments. For at least the next two years, there will be no District 13 Tournament.
“We were talking about the last district championship,” Heart River senior guard Seth Ewoniuk said. “We wanted our name on that plaque.”
Ewoniuk helped the Cougars (17-4) get their wish. He had a team-high 17 points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists while shooting 10 of 11 from the free-throw line.
It didn’t come easy though.
Especially with the way Mott-Regent senior Taylor Zentner was playing.
The 6-foot-2 guard had 21 points, eight rebounds and four steals as he not only hit big shots but also engineered plays that put his teammates in position to find the hoop.
“We have confidence in him and the kids have confidence in him,” said Mott-Regent head coach Wayne Heckaman, who shared District 13 Coach of the Year honors with Pruitt. “They were doubling him a lot of times tonight and he just played well. He did. Even when he was getting doubled and had that pressure, he plays well. He’s a good player.”
Not to be outdone, however, was Heart River junior guard Tyson Kudrna. The sniper from 3-point range made three from beyond the arc, including a tiebreaking shot from the right wing that gave the Cougars a 55-52 advantage with just over 3 minutes to left in the fourth quarter.
The teams played to a 13-13 tie at the end of the first quarter and Heart River led 31-30 after an up-and-down second quarter that saw both teams go on runs.
Mott-Regent (14-7) built a 23-15 lead after Jacob Greff buried a 3-pointer and Zentner took in a layup off a steal with 6:13 remaining in the first half, prompting the Cougars to burn a time out.
Heart River responded with a 16-2 run paced by Ewoniuk, Kudrna and Isaiah Marschner, who had 15 points, to give the Cougars a 31-25 lead with 1:33 left in the half.
The Wildfire, however, closed the gap to 31-30 at halftime after Zentner scored on a transition layup and Logan Haberstroh converted an old-fashioned 3-point play.
“It was just an intense game from the start,” Heckaman said. “If you ask the kids, I think they were pretty much burnt out the second quarter.”
The teams went back and forth in the third quarter with Heart River leading 45-41 going into the fourth. It got big 3-pointers from both Ewoniuk and Kudrna, who scored 12 points, in the third.
Still leading by three with less than 45 seconds to play following Kudrna’s tiebreaking shot, the Cougars did what they needed to do — they hit their free throws.
After Cole Hecker sank two freebees to make it 57-52, Zentner buried a 3-pointer to make it 57-55 with 18.3 seconds remaining.
Ewoniuk made it a four-point game seconds later with his final shots at the line.
Mott-Regent senior Jonah Honeyman put back a rebound off a missed free-throw attempt as time expired for the final score.
“We gave it our all,” said Zentner, who was named District 13 Senior Athlete of the Year. “We tried to come out and have a good defensive game. We just came up a little bit short. It was very exciting. They’re a great team and they gave us a good run for our money.”
The Cougars face Richardton-Taylor, the No. 4 seed from District 14, at 6 p.m. next Monday in the Region 7 Tournament quarterfinals at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Mott-Regent takes on Hazen, District 14’s No. 3 seed, at 4:30 p.m.
HR 13 31 45 59
MR 13 30 41 57
HR: Seth Ewoniuk 17, Isaiah Marschner 15, Tyson Kudrna 12, Riley Obrigewitch 8, Cole Hecker 5, Brad Olson 2.
MR: Taylor Zentner 21, Jonah Honeyman 10, Tyler Zentner 8, Logan Haberstroh 7, Jacob Greff 7, Brett Messmer 4.
3-pointers: HR 4 (Kudrna 3, Ewoniuk 1, Olson 1), MR 3 (Tay. Zentner 2, Greff 1). Free throws: HR 16-22, MR 4-9. Total fouls: HR 15, MR 19. Rebounds: HR 31 (Obrigewitch 7), MR 34 (Honeyman 10). Assists: HR 11 (Ewoniuk 3), MR 12 (Honeyman 4). Steals: HR 9 (Ewoniuk 5), MR 11 (Ty. Zentner 6). Blocks: HR 0, MR 2 (Ty. Zentner 2). Turnovers: HR 17, MR 13.
New England 57, Beach 51
Levi Hollinger scored 21 points and Daniel Prince notched a double-double to help the Tigers hold off the Buccaneers’ late comeback attempt in a region-qualifier game.
Prince had 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Tigers watched a 37-19 lead slip away late.
Carl Muckle had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Buccaneers, whose season ended with a 2-18 record. Beach shot 9 of 10 from the free-throw line in the second half and 14 of 19 for the game.
Anthony Weinreis added 15 points and six rebounds while Danny Skoglund, Beach’s lone senior, had 13 points.
The Tigers (11-11) face District 14 runner-up Dickinson Trinity, which ended the regular season as the No. 3-ranked team in Class B, at 7:30 p.m. next Monday in the Region 7 Tournament quarterfinals.
NE 18 37 47 57
Beach 7 19 38 51
NE: Levi Hollinger 27, Daniel Prince 11, Lane Herberholz 6, Brady Bender 6, Garrett Fitterer 5, Ian Fitterer 2.
B: Carl Muckle 16, Anthony Weinreis 15, Danny Skoglund 13, Kirby Maus 7.
3-pointers: NE 4 (Hollinger 3, Herberholz 1), B 1 (Weinreis 1). Free throws: NE 13-21, B 14-19. Total fouls: NE 17, B 21. Fouled out: B, Marshall Nunberg. Rebounds: NE 38 (Prince 11), B 41 (Muckle 12). Assists: NE 11 (A. Fitterer 5), B 10 (Skoglund 3, Maus 3). Steals: NE 12 (Hollinger 3, Prince 3), B 4 (Skoglund 2, Muckle 2). Blocks: NE 2 (Prince 2). Turnovers: NE 11, B 20.
Hettinger-Scranton 60, Bowman County 45
Hettinger-Scranton finally got to where it hoped it would get last season in its first year as a co-op.
The fourth-seeded Night Hawks used freshman Hayden Sadowsky’s career-best 23 points en route to a region-qualifier game victory over third-seeded Bowman County.
Senior Stephen Kristy contributed a double-double, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds on 6 of 8 shooting from the field for Hettinger-Scranton (8-13).
Junior Tanner Fischer had 14 points and five boards for the Bulldogs (10-12), who shot just 33 percent from the field. Senior Michael Palczewski added 10 points, eight rebounds and five steals.
HS 15 24 40 60
BC 14 23 37 45
HS: Hayden Sadowsky 23, Stephen Kristy 13, Kye Erikson 8, Tanner Stippich 6, Christian Kilwein 6, Brandon Pierce 4.
BC: Tanner Fischer 14, Michael Palczewski 10, Brandon Fischer 8, Brandon Orcutt 6, Chandler Braaten 4, Colter Braaten 3.
3-pointers: HS 9 (Sadowsky 3, Pierce 2, Kristy 1, Erikson 1). Free throws: HS 7-12, BC 11-17. Total fouls: HS 16, BC 15. Fouled out: BC B. Fischer. Rebounds: HS 41 (Kristy 12), BC 28 (Palczewski 8). Assists: HS 16 (Erikson 6), BC 13 (Co. Braaten 6). Steals: HS 6 (Stippich 2, Kristy 2), BC 12 (Palczewski 5). Blocks: HS 2 (Sadowsky 1, Kristy 1), BC 1 (Chance Moran 1). Turnovers: HS 17, BC 10.
All-District 13 Team: Colter Braaten, Bowman County; Seth Ewoniuk, Heart River; Tanner Fischer, Bowman County; Levi Hollinger, New England; Jonah Honeyman, Mott-Regent; Stephen Kristy, Hettinger-Scranton; Tyson Kudrna, Heart River; Isaiah Marschner, Heart River; Riley Obrigewitch, Heart River; Danny Skoglund, Beach; Taylor Zentner, Mott-Regent; Tyler Zentner, Mott-Regent.
All-District 13 Honorable mention: Austin Fitterer, New England; Cole Hecker, Heart River.
Co-Coach of the Year: Wayne Heckaman, Mott-Regent and Greg Pruitt, Heart River.
Athletic Director of the Year: Kevin Morast, Hettinger-Scranton.
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